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D-Link DCS-932L or Linksys WVC80N - which is best for you ?
on May 26, 2011
I was looking for a low cost wireless camera with better image quality than the Linksys WVC80N cameras that I have been using for a while. Side-by-Side, this is how the cameras compared.
Bottom Line: Unless you need Night Vision or need the mobil phone apps, the Linksys WVC80N performs better at a lower price. Linksys has better image quality than D-Link at any distance, handles outdoor scenes when the D-Link won't and will deliver video clips (not just snapshots) by email or ftp. The Linksys does not have phone-apps, but it can email a 5 second motion triggered video clip that can be viewed on your android phone.
Best Useage: The D-Link would be great as a baby cam or pet cam. The cute design, better audio and the night vision outperform the Linksys for these uses.
The Linksys WVC80N would be better for any other use where the video quality under all lighting conditions (except dark) is the highest priority.
Compare Image Quality @ 640x480
1. Color Quality - D-Link is a little better than Linksys, unless it is an outdoor view. The D-Link exposure control cannot manage any sunlit surfaces. Even grass and trees are completely washed out to white if they are in direct sun. There are no settings to fix this. In moderate light, the D-Link color is better than Linksys because the Linksys has a color hue gradient of red in the center to green at the perimeter. This color balance problem is distracting when viewing a white scene like snow or other very light backgrounds.
2. Image Clarity - With the two cameras side-by-side with the same scene of near-and-distant objects, the D-Link by comparison looks optically out-of-focus, though neither camera is great in this respect. If you want to recognize a face at a distance Linksys is better. The D-Link video clarity is fine for a baby's bedroom, because a near-field view does not demand the same sharp focus as a distant view.
3. Sound Quality - The D-Link has good audio performance on an wireless "N" lan when accesses directly within your home using the camera's local IP address. Very little "noise", no skipping or break-up and good microphone pickup. I didn't check it out across the internet or with the "MyDlink" connection, but I am guessing audio would not perform so well there . . as other reviewers have noted.
The Linksys has more audio artifacts and is more vulnerable to the audio breaking up when the video settings are too demanding even on the local network. Across the internet with high speed cable service at both ends, the Video has to be set at "Low Quality" and 2 or 1 frames per second for the audio to work without breaking up.
Some Feature Comparisons
1. The one obvious advantage with the D-Link is the night vision. It works pretty well up to 20 feet but the pictures are very soft-focus. For your night-time application you may want to consider that the 4 red LEDS are very bright and draw your eye to the camera.
2. The D-Link camera cannot stream video to a PC without using the full web management interface or using the MyDLink web service. With the Lynksys you can play the video stream directly on an iPad or on a PC using Google's Chrome browser without the surroundings of a web interface. Internet Explorer will only show 1 frame of a video stream if you bypass the full management interface explaining why Google Chrome is mentioned. With the Linksys camera, Right-Click on the video in the normal interface to get the URL for the direct video stream to used on your iPad or Chrome.
The D-Link can display a single .jpeg snapshot without the managment interface. This feature can be enabled in the camera's web interface and it tells the address format to use. This is for direct access, not using MyDink.
2. The D-Link cannot upload a video clip to an ftp server when it sees motion. It will only upload a single .jpeg snapshot. This will often give you a useless premature snapshot of a shadow but not the person, or a door opening but not the person. With the Linksys .mjpeg video clip, no video compression is used so each frame is a good .jpeg snapshot. You can select the best frame from the 5 second video that would give you the best view of the motion event that triggered the clip.
3. The D-Link will only email 6 frames when it sees motion. You can choose 1 or 2 frames per second. It will include the 3 frames it had buffered before it saw motion which is a good feature. This makes the email feature much more usefull than the D-Link ftp upload of a single .jpeg snapshot.
For motion detection features, you may prefer the Linksys which will email, ftp (or both) a 5 second video clip at a normal video frame rate.
I had no reason to examine the motion detect performance on the D-Link camera, but the motion detection on this Linksys camera works much better that on the prior similar models. With careful detection-area and sensitivity tuning, motion detection works great. Motion Detection responds to shadows which makes outdoor use tricky but manageable. Shadows on the ground caused by wind blowing the trees will trigger the camera so your detction areas need to be carefully targeted at areas of interest.
Setup / Wireless Compatibility
Working in a related tech business, I believe the negative reviews on either of these products regarding wireless compatibility or networking issues are the result of bad programming on the manufacturer's setup CD or the buyer's lack of network troubleshooting experience. If you have a friend who is very tech-savy to help you get past wireless and networking complications, either of these products will work reliably on virtually any wireless network. Sometimes the installation CD's will simplify networking issues and sometime they won't.
Reading the complaints on Amazon about the D-Link setup, I had the same problems but they were caused by poor programming on Setup CD; not the camera. If you get failure messages going through the Wizard on the CD, just use the web interface on the camera and save yourself a lot of grief. The web interface on the camera is excellent.
Another reason to skip the DLink CD . . . it forces you to to create a MyDlink account with DLink even though you may have no need for the service because you prefer to port-forward to this camera.
I returned this camera because it was a video quality downgrade from the Linksys cameras already in service.